I planted both tennis shoes firmly in the mucky ground, leaned in with both hands on the tailgate of our old Datsun pickup, and gave it everything I had. Rob gunned the engine, threw it in first gear, and sprayed me from head to toe with mud and grunge. It seemed like such a good idea in theory, but in reality—not so much. Finally we called some experts to tow us out of our own front yard.
That’s what happens when you park your truck on top of a saturated septic drain field. After seven inches of rain. In Florida.
Life is messy.
I don’t like messiness. I like neat and tidy and pleasant. I know I didn’t get a vote on whether or not to attend this event called Life, but since I’m here I’d really like it to be worth the effort. For me, that translates into no problems, no hang-ups, no headaches.
You know, I think I missed my own memo.
I can’t seem to avoid messy. I hate that. Right on the heels of imperfection, my strategy is to pretend everything is fine. You might wonder why. Or maybe you can relate. See, if I pretend everything is fine, I won’t have to face fear and failure and heartache. I won’t risk rejection from the other impersonators all around me. And I won’t have to change.
It’s kind of a dumb plan. It reminds me of that definition for insanity—doing the same thing the same way but expecting different results. Like the time I put flour and hot water in my new Tupperware gravy shaker and the lid blew off. “There must be something wrong with this thing,” I muttered as I wiped hot slurry off my face, and re-filled it with hot water and flour—three more explosive times.
Wow, was that messy.
The hardest part of trying to live perfectly in an imperfect world is . . . trying to live perfectly. The other hard part about trying to be perfect is admitting that you’re not. Don’t you think it’s a little scary to take off your mask and let people see what’s going on underneath? Still, nobody knows the battles I fight everyday unless I stop covering up the scars. Worse than that, no one can stand beside me and double the odds that I’ll survive.
Not unless I stop pretending that life isn’t messy. Not unless I admit that sometimes I’m a mess. Not unless I stop being surprised that there’s very little in my life I can control.
Is there an upside of messy? Absolutely. I qualify to be loved by Jesus. Embraced by Him. Accepted by Him. Just as I am. Only the imperfect may apply. Those who are perfect don’t need Him. And I do. Desperately. Which proves, I guess, that my life is messy.
Here’s what I’m learning—embrace the messy. It’s a relief to stop pretending. And relax—the truth is there’s nothing I can do to make Jesus let go of me or be disappointed in me. He’s not afraid of a mess.
He really loves me.
Put that in your Tupperware and shake it.
With thanks to Paul Downey for the use of this great photo. The original can be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/45581782@N00/128600625/in/photolist-cn7ua-duStD-dyED6-dyFvT-eRYd9-grh8J-gC1LL-hDnCa-kTFtp-mggz8-ns8M7-qM2FS-xmFAC-AGSKN-CVRMC-E4gvq-FS1Kr-Hr2Ho-JWnHB-TYJSy-Zc1tc-2arQM6-2gPo5c-2VdxrV-2VhZ5h-3iPvnW-3Hzepd-4kJWUE-4s2bhh-4uvLGk-4y7Pj2-4zDk7q-4D2ccY-4JWmLu-4UDaos-4V9XPc-4YqR5A-4ZSiDg-53eZuk-53DYaM-53EJfB-53EKbi-53JXG5-53JYCw-54cR6K-57wtec-58vRnT-5bBUPh-5iDG4y-5ojrrr-5rVnK9